Q. Did Roku drop Vimeo like it did the Spectrum TV app? I saw on Twitter that Roku said the Vimeo app was discontinued and it had a link to the Vimeo web site that also said it was discontinued. What’s going on? Is this another carriage thing between the companies? I checked on my Roku menu and Vimeo is still there. So if I delete it, will I not be able to download it again? — Tom, Bremerton, Washington. 

Tom, I can understand why you would be confused. Some Roku owners earlier this month were having issues with the Vimeo app, either being unable to download it or access it if it was previously downloaded. In response to their posts on Twitter, Roku’s customer support team said the Vimeo app was discontinued.

If the Roku owners click on the link, it would appear that the Vimeo app is indeed no longer available on the streaming device. Roku is listed as one of the “discontinued platforms” for Vimeo, along with second and third generations of the Apple TV and the XBox 360, among others.

Considering that Roku has been engaged in a handful of carriage disputes over the last year, including a current one with Charter for its Spectrum TV app, it was not a reach to wonder if Roku and Vimeo were now fighting over fees.

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But Tom, as you note, the Vimeo app is still available in Roku menus. And if you delete it, and try to reinstall it, you can do it.

So what’s going on here? Why is Roku and Vimeo saying the app has been discontinued on Roku?

As Strother Martin famously said in the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is…failure to communicate.”

In Vimeo’s early years, the company was a YouTube competitor, inviting everyone to post and share their videos with the world. Vimeo’s YouTube-like app was available on Roku and most other streaming products.

However, a few years ago, the company made a major transition, shifting its target from consumers to businesses. Vimeo now sells software, and storage for video professionals to show their wares. Consumers, of course, are encouraged to come to the site (or Vimeo app) to watch those professional videos, and the company reports that it gets around one billion views a month.

After the switch, Vimeo eliminated the first app and created a new app for the professional videos. It’s that app that still exists on Roku; the old one has indeed been discontinued.

(A thanks to Roku spokesman Dallas Lawrence for providing the history here.)

Roku’s customer support team, and Vimeo’s webmaster, would be wise to offer a fuller explanation regarding whether Vimeo’s app has been “discontinued” on Roku.

Tom, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann